They Torture Artists in the West

A worrying, puzzling, at times deeply troubling account of a writer taking risks and seemingly being forced to pay for them with his sanity.

The journey begins with the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon, which the author follows live behind the safety of his computer screen, and takes him down the rabbit holes of modern and contemporary art of the world’s premiere museums, from the most hallowed spaces of the American arts to spectacular career heights in European literature, from New York City to Brussels, from Ventspils to Frankfurt & Leipzig, fighting for his life and mind through the darkest moments of the Trump era, through the nascent digital landscapes of psychological and emotional manipulation and the reinforced structures of political and financial control, and coming out badly beaten and psychologically scarred, perhaps traumatized for life, yet just as outraged at the sorry state of contemporary society as he was when he first picked up his pen.

“Whoever I turned to did not believe me,
so I walked through the nightmare alone.
Those were the times, and this is a record of those times.”
Jasmin B. Frelih

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They Torture Artists in the West:

“Pressure: an essay” Book Cover

Pressure: an essay


An essay on writer’s anxiety in the post-Snowden age, with a brief recap on how the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon unfolded on Reddit, a look at the works of Don DeLillo and PEN America’s Global Chilling report, and a principled defense of the freedom of the artist and the arts.

“Letters: the event” Book Cover

Letters: the event


The two stories.

“Report 1314: a visual essay” Book Cover

Report 1314: a visual essay


A visual essay on New York City in the month of the 2016 presidential election.

“Waiting for the Iceman: a poem” Book Cover

Waiting for the Iceman: a poem


A visual poem, written in the months after the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA, and designed in the spring Covid-19 quarantine months as a tribute to New York, the wildest city in the world.

“Submissions: an account” Book Cover

Submissions: an account


An extended essay, recounting the experiences of the author after submitting two short stories on the eve of the presidential election in New York City to The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Harper’s Magazine, DeLillo, Schnabel and Columbia University, that stayed with him through a Passa Porta literary residency in Brussels, Belgium, six months later. A tale of either beautiful madness or something else.

“Directions: a novella” Book Cover

Directions: a novella


A novella telling the story of an introverted IKEA designer on a train across Europe who is slowly being nudged into insanity by a fellow passenger after witnessing a crime.